Tag Archives: resource wars

One Year After Coup, Honduras Still in Crisis; Is the US Enabling?

Pro-democracy demonstrators clash with police on September 23, 2009, in the capital of Tegucigalpa.

A year after a military coup toppled the democratically-elected government, a “horrifying” human rights crisis continues amidst economic and environmental decay. Is the U.S. enabling this repression with taxpayer dollars?

One year ago last week, on June 28, 2009, the Honduran special forces – led by U.S.-trained officers, wearing U.S.-issue uniforms and armed with U.S.-made M16s – attacked the home of president Manuel Zelaya, kidnapped him in his pajamas, and after a quick stop at the local U.S. airbase, flew him off to Costa Rica in exile. Honduras hasn’t been the same since.

“[It’s] a totally different country since the coup,” says Dr. Adrienne Pine, a Central American expert at American University in Washington, D.C. In an exclusive interview, Dr. Pine, who was in the capital of Tegucigalpa as an international observer last week, described conditions in the new Honduras as being “horrifying.”

“We’ve now reached a point where it’s like we’ve returned to the 1980’s, when death squads killed several hundred people and effectively ended the Leftist movement in Honduras at the time,” says Pine, who spent Monday marching with about 200,000 pro-democracy demonstrators in the capital. She believes a heavy presence of foreign observers and reporters was the only reason the police and soldiers, who shadowed the marchers at all times, did not attack as they have in the past. “What we’re seeing now is that they’re using the same repressive strategies [as in the ’80’s],” she says. “Even the same people are in charge.”

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John Pilger: There Is a War on Journalism

Decmocracy Now! Interview With John Pilger:

John Pilger, award-winning investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. He began his career in journalism nearly half a century ago and has written close to a dozen books and made over fifty documentaries. He lives in London but is in the United States working on a forthcoming documentary about what he calls “the war on the media.” It’s called The War You Don’t See.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: It’s been a week since Rolling Stone published its article on General Stanley McChrystal that eventually led to him being fired by President Obama. In a piece called “The Runaway General,” McChrystal and his top aides openly criticized the President and mocked several top officials. Joe Biden is nicknamed “Bite me.” National Security Adviser General James Jones is described as a “clown.” Ambassador Richard Holbrooke is called a “wounded animal.”

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The Global Political Awakening and the New World Order

The Technological Revolution and the Future of Freedom, Part 1

By Andrew Gavin Marshall
Global Research

There is a new and unique development in human history that is taking place around the world; it is unprecedented in reach and volume, and it is also the greatest threat to all global power structures: the ‘global political awakening.’ The term was coined by Zbigniew Brzezinski, and refers to the fact that, as Brzezinski wrote:

“For the first time in history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. Global activism is generating a surge in the quest for cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world scarred by memories of colonial or imperial domination.” [1]

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Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan? Using the McChrystal Moment to Raise a Forbidden Question


By David Ray Griffin
Global Research

There are many questions to ask about the war in Afghanistan. One that has been widely asked is whether it will turn out to be “Obama’s Vietnam.” This question implies another: Is this war winnable, or is it destined to be a quagmire, like Vietnam? These questions are motivated in part by the widespread agreement that the Afghan government, under Hamid Karzai, is at least as corrupt and incompetent as the government the United States tried to prop up in South Vietnam for 20 years.

Although there are many similarities between these two wars, there is also a big difference: This time, there is no draft. If there were a draft, so that college students and their friends back home were being sent to Afghanistan, there would be huge demonstrations against this war on campuses all across this country. If the sons and daughters of wealthy and middle-class parents were coming home in boxes, or with permanent injuries or post-traumatic stress syndrome, this war would have surely been stopped long ago. People have often asked: Did we learn any of the “lessons of Vietnam”? The US government learned one: If you’re going to fight unpopular wars, don’t have a draft – hire mercenaries!

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Was the Obama Administration involved in the Planning of the Israeli Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla?

Gaza gas map

By Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research

The Broader Military Agenda

The Israeli Navy Commando had prior knowledge of who was on the Turkish ship including where passengers were residing in terms of cabin layout. According to Swedish author Henning Mankell, who was on board the Marmara , “the Israeli forces attacked sleeping civilians.”

These were targeted assassinations. Specific individuals were targeted. Journalists were targeted with a view to confiscating their audio and video recording equipment and tapes.

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Arundhati Roy resists Operation Green Hunt (transcript and video)

BUZZ THIS

By Rady Ananda

The Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights held a public lecture by Gautam Navlakha and Arundhati Roy on June 2, 2010 in Mumbai, India. They cover populist resistance to bauxite mining in particular, but also expand the discussion to clarify that this is a war on all peoples, on all continents, by global corporations who seek to destroy the earth and all tribal cultures in their relentless and psychopathic pursuit of profit.

This 52-minute speech is a companion to her piece, Walking with the Comrades, when she met with armed resistance units early this year.

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Have a nice world war, folks

By John Pilger
Correo del Orinoco

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the Secretary of “Defense” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace.

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U.S. Soldiers from Wikileaks ‘Collateral Murder’ Video Apologize

BUZZ THIS!

VETERANS OF “WIKILEAKS” INCIDENT ANNOUNCE “LETTER OF RECONCILIATION” TO IRAQIS INJURED IN ATTACK

By Josh Stieber and Ethan McCord
TruthOut

Two former soldiers from the Army unit responsible for the WikiLeaks “Collateral Murder” incident have written an open-letter of “Reconciliation and Responsibility” to those injured in the July 2007 attack, in which U.S. forces wounded two children and killed over a dozen people, including the father of those children and two Reuters employees.

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Recovering from Empathy

BUZZ THIS!

By Robert C. Koehler

What I thought of, straight off, as I watched that 17-minute WikiLeaks video of Iraqis – including a Reuters photographer and his driver – being strafed on a Baghdad street in 2007 by a U.S. helicopter, was a book of postcards published a decade ago.

The book, compiled by James Allen, is called Without Sanctuary. My guess is that you don’t have it sitting on your coffee table. The postcards and various other stained, frayed photographs – about a hundred of them – depict mostly black men, a few women, a few white men, in the process or aftermath of being lynched in the United States, in the first half of the 20th century. The dangling or burned corpses are surrounded, in most of the pictures, by grim or smirking or benevolently smiling onlookers, some of them children. It’s the most surreal and troubling historical document I’ve ever seen in my life.

It’s a stark testimony to the devaluation of human life, and this is its thread of commonality with the video, which – justify it if you will in the name of war, rail as Defense Secretary Gates did that it’s “out of context” – records helicopter crewmen chuckling in exaltation as they kill a dozen people (“Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards”), including the driver of a van who was trying to rescue one of the wounded.

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Return to ‘Indian Country’: The Global War on Tribes

BUZZ THIS!

By ZOLTAN GROSSMAN              Counterpunch

The so-called “Global War on Terror” is quickly growing outside the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan, into new battlegrounds in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and beyond. The Pentagon is vastly increasing missile and gunship attacks, Special Forces raids, and proxy invasions–all in the name of combating “Islamist terrorism.” Yet within all five countries, the main targets of the wars are predominantly “tribal regions,” and the old frontier language of Indian-fighting is becoming the lexicon of 21st-century counterinsurgency. The “Global War on Terror” is fast morphing into a “Global War on Tribes.”

Tribal regions are local areas where tribes are the dominant form of social organization, and tribal identities often trump state, ethnic, and even religious identities. Tribal peoples have a strongly localized orientation, tied to a particular place. Their traditional societies are based on a common culture, dialect, and kinship ties (through single or multiple clans). Although they are tribal peoples, they are not necessarily Indigenous peoples–who generally follow nature-centered spiritual and cultural systems. [sic*]  Nearly all tribal communities in the Middle East and Central Asia have been Islamicized or Christianized, but they still retain their ancient social bonds.

Yet modern counterinsurgency doctrine only views tribal regions as festering cauldrons of lawlessness, and “breeding grounds” for terrorism, unless the tribes themselves are turned against the West’s enemies. The London Times (5Jan10), for example, crudely asserts that Yemen’s “mountainous terrain, poverty and lawless tribal society make it… a close match for Afghanistan as a new terrorist haven.” This threatening view of tribal regions is, of course, as old as European colonialism itself.

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Reflections on an Anniversary

By Robert C. Koehler

“Everything feels obscene,” a friend said seven years ago, when we carpet-bombed Baghdad, launching the invasion. It still does, but in a dull, chronic, “used to it” way — outrage mixed, these last few years, with “hope,” smearing the war effort with a thick, national ambivalence.

Is it still going on? Well, yeah, with a grinding pointlessness that’s not worth talking about or even debating anymore. The smorgasbord of justifications has been permanently shut down: the 9/11 tie-in, the WMD, “another Munich,” democracy for the Middle East. No one’s hawking Freedom Fries anymore. The war in Iraq simply continues because a war in motion, especially when it’s not really a war, when there isn’t an enemy with whom to negotiate, is incapable of just, you know, stopping. When we don’t really have a mission, completing it is difficult indeed.

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Arundhati Roy Walks with the Comrades: India’s Resource Wars

Dantewada: Roy with the Maoists

Walking with the Comrades

Gandhians with a Gun? Arundhati Roy plunges into the sea of Gondi people to find some answers.

For every ton of iron ore mined by a private company, the Indian government gets a royalty of Rs 27 and the mining company makes Rs 5,000. In the bauxite and aluminum sector, the figures are even worse. We’re talking about daylight robbery to the tune of billions of dollars. Enough to buy elections, governments, judges, newspapers, TV channels, NGOs and aid agencies. Over the past five years or so, the governments of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal have signed hundreds of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with corporate houses, worth several billion dollars, all of them secret, for steel plants, sponge-iron factories, power plants, aluminum refineries, dams and mines. In order for the MoUs to translate into real money, tribal people must be moved. Therefore, this war.

By Arundhati Roy
Outlook India

The terse, typewritten note slipped under my door in a sealed envelope confirmed my appointment with India’s Gravest Internal Security Threat. I’d been waiting for months to hear from them. I had to be at the Ma Danteshwari mandir in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, at any of four given times on two given days. That was to take care of bad weather, punctures, blockades, transport strikes and sheer bad luck. The note said: “Writer should have camera, tika and coconut. Meeter will have cap, Hindi Outlook magazine and bananas. Password: Namashkar Guruji.”

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Haiti copes with a nightmare

By Cindy Kaffen
Socialist Worker

Los Angeles filmmaker and environmental educator Dave Chameides traveled to Haiti two weeks after the earthquake as part of a camera crew for a documentary being made about the humanitarian organization Partners in Health. He talked to Cindy Kaffen about what he saw.

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A Personal Stake in Sanity

By Robert C. Koehler

When we write about mass slaughter, even the good kind, which we call “war,” the waging of it should be on trial in every sentence. Anything less than that is propaganda, the chief characteristic of which is moral opacity.

Sadly, this is how our news is delivered to us. Reading it makes me feel homeless.

Thus when civilians die by our hand — such as the 12 people killed when an errant NATO missile took out a house last weekend (on Valentine’s Day), as we launched our offensive on the Afghan city of Marjah — the incident becomes “regrettable.” That was Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s word, as deep as a frowny face. Would our own loved ones’ deaths by missile blunder be so easily dismissible?  Continue reading

Israel, US and Iran: An environmental perspective

Depleted uranium bombs

By Peter Eyre
Palestine Telegraph

In my last column, I reviewed the military implications if the United States and Israel launched an attack on Iran. I will now discuss the types of weapons likely to be used and the catastrophic contamination of the entire Middle East region and the world that would result should they be foolish enough to proceed.

As with the “shock and awe” attack on Baghdad, many missiles are likely to be fired from naval vessels located in the north of the Persian Gulf. Many of these missiles contain uranium components and would form part of an initial attack on the nuclear facilities in Iran.

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Haiti the Spectacle

By Robert C. Koehler

Haiti falls apart and America’s journalists are on the ground, bringing us the spectacle of devastation. We care, we donate, we shake our heads in horror at the human toll of poverty.

A bare foot sticks out of a pile of cinder blocks.

“They’ve been digging for five hours,” says Anderson Cooper. He sticks his mike in the rubble. Oh my God, she’s alive. We can hear her screaming! “They only have this one shovel.”

OK, freeze frame. Something is so wrong with this picture, this moment: to be watching — live! — in comfortable detachment as a group of men dig desperately, by hand and with that single shovel, to free a 15-year-old girl trapped in the wreckage of a building. Continue reading

Drs sans Borders Blockaded from Haiti: US as ‘Facehugger’

By Lori Price
CLG

I’ve come to the conclusion that the US government most resembles the ‘facehugger,’ a stage in the life cycle of an alien, the ‘primary antagonist’ of the film series ‘Alien.’

An alien, the prized bioweapon of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation (Blackwater/Xe)

A refresher: Unlike many other recurring enemy extraterrestrial races in science fiction, the aliens are not an intelligent civilization, but predatory creatures with no higher goals than the propagation of their species and the destruction of life that could pose a threat.

 

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The Yemen Hidden Agenda: Behind al-Qaeda Scenarios, a Strategic Oil Transit Chokepoint

”]By F. William Engdahl

On December 25 US authorities arrested a Nigerian named Abdulmutallab aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on charges of having tried to blow up the plane with smuggled explosives. Since then reports have been broadcast from CNN, the New York Times and other sources that he was “suspected” of having been trained in Yemen for his terror mission. What the world has been subjected to since is the emergence of a new target for the US ‘War on Terror,’ namely a desolate state on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen. A closer look at the background suggests the Pentagon and US intelligence have a hidden agenda in Yemen.

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The Real Top 10 News Stories of the Past Decade

By Robert Freeman

The media are awash with talking heads bloviating about the top stories of the last decade. The wired-in society. The growth of organic food. The new frugality. This is the ritual that reveals their true function in the culture: pacification. It’s their way of signaling the masses that Bigger Thinkers are looking after things, so go back to your Wii or Survivor or Facebook reveries.

The amazing thing is how little is ever mentioned about the stories that really mattered, those that affected the very nature of our society, its institutions, and the relation of the people to their state and society. Those stories paint a picture of danger, of a people who have lost control of their government and the corporations that own it. But you’ll hear nary a word about such difficult truths from any storyteller in the conventional media.

So here, in no particular order, are my Top Ten Stories of the Naughties, the ones that really matter.

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Chevron and Cultural Genocide in Ecuador


Feb. 2011 UPDATE by Greg Palast: Chevron runs from $8.6 billion judgment in Ecuador

By Kerry Kennedy
IPS

LAGO AGRIO, Ecuador (IPS/TerraViva) Traces of paradise are still visible. From the air, the rainforest region in northern Ecuador – known as the Oriente – appears as silvery mist and swaths of verdant green.

But beneath the cloud cover and canopy, the jungle is a tangle of oil slicks, festering sludge, and rusted pipeline. Smokestacks sprout from the ground, spewing throat-burning fumes into the air. Wastewater from unlined pits seeps into the groundwater and flows into the rivers and streams.

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